By Betty Dillard
After months, if not years of rumors and speculation, Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s 20-story office tower on the west side of downtown Fort Worth has been sold.
The Dallas office of privately owned real estate firm Hines of Houston acquired the building.
Representing Pier 1 in the transaction was Todd Burnette, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Fort Worth office. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“It’s a very exciting time for Pier 1,” said Burnette, recalling the company’s evolution in recent years. “They’re right-sized now, and things are blowing and going.”
For now, Pier 1 is occupying two additional floors and eventually will occupy the entire building, according a source close to lease negotiations who wished to remain anonymous. Chesapeake Energy will retain a presence in the building but will vacate the property within two years, the source said. Pier 1 will become the tower’s sole tenant at that time.
The 409,977-square-foot, Class A building sits on more than 14 acres of land along the Trinity River and was originally developed in 2004 as the headquarters for Fort Worth-based furniture and home décor retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc.
Pier 1 sold the building to Chesapeake for $104 million in 2008 as the headquarters for the energy firm’s Barnett Shale drilling and production operations. Chesapeake put the building on the market in 2012 as the Oklahoma-based company began focusing on more liquids-rich drilling properties in other parts of the country. It is currently valued at $68.8 million the Tarrant Appraisal District property tax rolls.
The office tower will be renamed the Pier 1 Imports Building. Pier 1 currently leases approximately 313,000 square feet in the tower, while the remainder of the building is presently leased by Chesapeake Energy.
“I’m very pleased to add this iconic building to the investment portfolio of Hines US Office Value Added Venture III,” said David Congdon, Hines senior managing director. “We are bullish on Fort Worth’s steadily growing economy and believe Hines’ management team will add considerable value to this investment and Pier 1 Imports’ occupancy.”
Heath Johnson, Hines Dallas managing director, called Pier 1 Imports “a world class organization.”
“The company’s long-term commitment to the building made this acquisition possible, and as Pier 1 Imports’ new landlord we are eager to provide them with the highest level of service,” Johnson said.
Pier 1 Imports originally purchased the site in January 2002 and consolidated into its new home office in August 2004 from three different downtown locations. The facility includes a fitness center, an on-site café and a conference center.
Alex W. Smith, Pier 1 president and chief executive officer, said, “We are delighted about this new affiliation with Hines and look forward to a long partnership. Pier 1 Imports has been associated with Fort Worth for more than 50 years, and our associates are committed to the community. We are pleased that this deal helps to ensure our well-loved company will remain in Fort Worth for many years to come.”
Pier 1 Imports Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PIR. The company has retail stores throughout the United States and Canada.
Hines is involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. Currently, Hines manages 379 properties totaling 137 million square feet, which includes 66 million square feet for third parties. With offices in 104 cities in 18 countries, and controlled assets valued at $23.8 billion, Hines is one of the largest real estate organizations in the world.
Staff writer A. Lee Graham contributed to this report.